These recipes appear in Two Dudes, One Pan: Maximum Flavor from a Minimalist Kitchen by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, (Clarkson Potter, 2008).
Blistered Zucchini Skillet Gratin Serves 4
We recommend heating your skillet and oil together so they get hot at the same time (unless you're trying to get a really strong sear on a piece of meat or fish — then you want to heat the skillet for a couple of minutes before adding the oil). If you heat the pan first and then add the oil once the pan is already hot, you've got to be ready to move; that oil can get smoky right quick. You have a little more time if you heat the oil and the pan together. Once the oil gets a shimmer to it and grows "legs" — meaning it streaks across a hot skillet — you know it's hot enough to start cooking.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
If you don't have a stainless skillet that can go from stovetop to oven without a problem, then after sautéing the zucchini, transfer it to an oven-safe gratin dish and finish it off under the broiler. This dish also works nicely with butternut squash.
Preheat your broiler to high and set an oven rack at the upper-middle position. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat until the oil is shimmering, about 1 minute.
Add the zucchini, season with the salt, and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip each piece over and cook the other side until browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, squeeze the lemon juice over the zucchini, and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle the cheese on top and serve.
Garlic-Braised Brothy Escarole Serves 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large or 3 medium heads of escarole, leaves separated, washed, and sliced cross-wise into 1-inch-wide strips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Vinny: Escarole is an underused leafy green. It's sturdy enough to braise, and mild enough to please lots of people who don't get into more bitter braised greens. For a meal-in-one dish, add some cooked pasta and white beans.
Jon: My favorite way to eat this is in a bowl with a nice steak on the side. Be sure to dip pieces of the steak in the sauce to soak up all that garlicky goodness.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute. Stir in the escarole and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 minute.
Add 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a simmer, and cook until the escarole is tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the butter and salt and, once the butter has melted, serve.